Newly signed Tennessee Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler said he was sick during the week leading up to Super Bowl LII but never got a reason for the benching that played some part in his departure from the New England Patriots.
"I never got a reason," Butler told Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. "I feel like this is the reason. I got kind of sick. I went to the hospital. They probably thought I was kind of late on the game plan; I wasn't as locked in as I should be and could have been a matchup deal. It could have been anything."
Butler, who started 47 of his last 48 regular-season games with the Patriots and was a starter for their first two playoff contests before the Super Bowl, did not receive a defensive snap against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Patriots allowed Eagles quarterback Nick Foles to throw for 373 yards and three touchdowns, on his way to earning MVP honors.
Butler, who was the hero of New England's Super Bowl XLIX win over the Seattle Seahawks after recording a goal-line interception, did not seem to have any hard feelings toward Bill Belichick.
"Bill Belichick has been doing this for a very long time," Butler told Howe. "He took a veteran out of Super Bowl XLIX and put in a first-year rookie, and that turned out right, so you could never question his decision. It didn't work out right. It didn't work out the best for me or him or the New England Patriots. But I can say he won more than he lost, so it is what it is."
Butler signed a five-year, $61 million contract with the Titans at the start of free agency, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.